Here's a nice little trivia question if you ever want to stump your friends- what was Toyota called before they were Toyota? When they give up out of confusion, put on your best grin and tell them it was Toyoda. They'll likely give you a look like you're crazy.
It's true though! The car company was originally created by Kiichiro Toyoda, and his family decided to change the company name in 1936 from a "d" to a "t" because it sounded better, and when written on paper, was considered to be luckier in Japanese culture. During this time, the first vehicle they produced was the G1 Truck. Interestingly enough, Kiichiro had traveled to Britain and the United States to study vehicles, and is said to have been inspired by Ford and the engines of similar Chevrolet vehicles.
Now, almost 77 years later, Toyota is celebrating the production of their 200th million vehicle worldwide. From the G1 to the Corolla, Camry, and Tundra, they've come quite a long way (the Corolla has even been crowned the best selling vehicle of all time, beating out every other passenger car or truck).
75% of those 200 million cars were made in Japan, though when Toyota hits their next milestone of 300 or 400 million cars, that percentage is likely to change. They've been making a big push to start producing more vehicles in American and European markets, which is great in the long run. We as consumers will certainly benefit- less cost on parts used to manufacture the cars, and less distance traveled to get them to dealerships means cheaper prices for all of us.
How long do you think it will take for Toyota to produce another 200 million vehicles?